If you and your spouse are getting a
divorce, you may have questions about the various repercussions of this decision.
One aspect of your divorce could be the payment of
child support. If have children together, you will have to find a workable way to arrange
custody and support before your divorce terms will be finalized and your divorce
granted. Every state has laws that determine how child support is decided.
Florida Is an “Income Shares” State
In Florida, child support payments are determined under an “Income
Shares Model.” Generally, this means that the court will estimate
how much money parents would have spent on their children had the marriage
remained intact. This amount will then be divvied up between the two parents,
based on each parents’ income. The Florida Child Support Guidelines
are found in Florida Statute 61.30. There is some measure of flexibility
in how the courts will determine these child support rulings.
Questions That Determine Child Support Payments
Some question that the court will ask in determining child support payments
- How many children are involved?
- How many children does each parent have including children from previous
- Which parent will have primary physical custody?
- How many overnight visits will the child be given with the noncustodial parent?
- What are the child’s estimated financial needs?
- What is the total income of each parent?
- Does the child have any extenuating circumstances or special needs, such
as medical costs?
How Income Is Determined
Both parents will be asked to fill out financial affidavits, and to include
full disclosure of the details surrounding their income and expenses.
Each individual’s income includes but is not limited to the following items:
- Salary / wages
- Bonuses / overtime payments / tips / commissions / allowances
- Disability benefits
- Business income
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Social security benefits
- Reemployment assistance
- Income from rental homes / units
- Pension / retirement payments
- Royalties, estates, and trusts
- Property dealings
Parties will be able to deduct the following permitted items from their
- Federal taxes / state taxes / income taxes
- Mandatory union dues
- Mandatory retirement payments
- Personal health insurance payments
- Any child support ordered by the court for other children
- Spousal support / alimony payments
- Self-employment tax or federal insurance contributions
Child support also factors in the needs of the children involved, including
costs for education, costs for healthcare in terms of premiums and deductibles,
and other expenses related to raising a child. There can be some flexibility
in how these payments are made. Parents may decide to split up types of
expenses: For example, one parent pays for day care or private school
tuition, while the other covers healthcare premiums.
What Are the Tax Consequences Connected with Child Support Payments?
alimony / spousal support can be tax deductible, child support is not tax deductible
for the individual making payments. In addition, it cannot be charged
as income for the individual receiving payments. This means that the parent
paying child support cannot count those payments as a tax deduction, while
the parent receiving child support does not have to pay taxes on those payments.
Can My Child Support Orders Be Modified?
Yes. These payments are designed to suit your child’s and family's
needs. Naturally, those needs and circumstances change over time. You
may be able to get those payment arrangements modified accordingly. Our
attorneys can answer your questions about child support modifications.
For more information about child support, or to speak with a knowledgeable
Panama City family law attorney at Seaton Law Offices, P.A. in a free case evaluation, call our office today!